5 Fast Facts with the Takács Quartet
Without doubt one of the greatest string quartets in the world, we welcome the return of the Takács Quartet for two concerts only in Wellington and Auckland. Often referred to as “chamber music royalty”, the quartet's sound is “like a fine wine: warm, rich and light, and improving with age.” Washington Post
Takács are avid supporters of young musicians. Currently based in the United States, they have been the resident quartet of the University of Colorado Boulder for the past three decades. They were instrumental in building a student mentorship programme with the University.
The quartet are so reliant on each other that they have taken out life insurance policies.
According to Edward Dusinberre: “A football manager can replace an injured player with a substitute eager to come off the bench, but when a small music ensemble goes a man down it faces a trickier situation. The foundation of a string quartet is formed over a long period of time from the musical and personal bonds that evolve between four individuals.”
Edward Dusinberre (violin) is the author of 4 star rated “Beethoven for a Later Age: Living with the String Quartets”, a rare, witty peek inside the workings of his ensemble and an insightful examination of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets.
"Matters of life and death are yet another chance to show off some dry wit. He begins chapter 5 with a backstage conversation the quartet was having before a show. Apparently, cellist András Fejér had to wait until the end of a Takács tour before having a stent put inside his ticker. “‘Don’t worry,’ András told us backstage before a Sunday afternoon concert in June 2002 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. ‘I’m taking blood thinners and there’s a nitroglycerin pill in my tuxedo pocket: in the worst case just put it under my tongue.’” (page 171) Admit it, part of you chuckled at that." - John Garratt, Popmatters
He has also written for The Strad and Guardian.
In 2014 they became the first string quartet to win the Wigmore Hall Medal. The Medal recognises major international artists and significant figures in the classical music world who have a strong association with the Hall. The Takács Quartet made their debut at Wigmore Hall in 1979, as Gold Medal winners of the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. In 2012 Wigmore Hall appointed the Takács Quartet as its first ever Associate Artists.
Violinist Károly Schranz began playing the violin at the age of four under the very strict supervision of his mother who often resorted to unconventional methods of teaching and encouraging practice.
"To improve my bowing technique, she devised a method of attaching a string to my arm, and pulling in the desired direction. When this approach failed, she spanked me with a wooden spoon, which resulted in my hatred towards practicing."
Luckily for us Károly kept practicing, and went on to study at Béla Bártok Secondary Music School and Franz Liszt Academy of Music.